Saturday, June 15, 2024

Labor camps to attract and retain labor in rural areas

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Over the past 10 years, workers at the EACOM sawmill have either had to find accommodation in surrounding communities, such as Gogama about 50 km away.

Others lived in the few buildings the company made available to its employees, near the sawmill.

But these places start to stumble, confirms the Director of Communications at EACOM, Jean Brouder, and We needed to find a file [autre] A place where these people can stay.

[Le logement] Is a problem in Gogama, in the nearest community, there was no availability. This is true in most of the areas we work in, but in Gogama, it was even more urgent in terms of need, notice.

Workers put the finishing touches on the new camp for workers at the EACOM sawmill.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bienvenu Senga

But instead of just doing the renovations From top to bottomThe company chose to build a modular camp with 44 places.

This is a first for EACOM, which has other facilities in Ontario, such as Ear Falls, Timmins and Matagami.

At the camp site itself, everything seems to be going well.

The rooms are already furnished, appliances such as washing machines are being installed, some hammer blows are heard, and workers are attaching carbon monoxide detectors to the walls.

A worker on a ladder installs carbon monoxide detectors on the walls

A worker installs carbon monoxide detectors at the workers camp of the EACOM sawmill in Gaugama.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bienvenu Senga

The company says construction is due to be completed on January 5, and the camp will be able to accommodate its first residents.

Foreign recruitment is in vogue

Among the first to move in are 12 workers who will arrive from abroad in the coming months.

In 2019, EACOM made the decision to use more powerfully Recruitment from abroad to meet their labor needs.

Currently, there is a major recruitment problem everywhere. For our part, we also rub shoulders with mines, which are big employers, explains Mr. Brodeur.

Two workers loading a truck

EACOM already employs 66 workers recruited from abroad; About ten of them are in the Jojama sawmill.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bienvenu Senga

The industries in Timmins, in Val-d’Or on the Quebec side, are places where there is full employment, so it is increasingly difficult to hire competent people into the communities. ”Use other regions and other countries, Determines.

« In manufacturing, in the regions, we have to make more noise, we have to be more present, we have to be more aggressive in our hiring than other companies, perhaps in urban communities. »

Quote from Jan Bruder, Director of Communications at EACOM

Living, A major concern for recruits

In all, EACOM has already brought in 66 foreign workers from countries such as Mexico, Peru, Ukraine and Honduras. It is scattered across four of its factories in Ontario and two in Quebec.

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At the Ostrom factory ten of them are already working, The employees are very enthusiastic, and want to learn a lot about their businessAccording to Mr. Brodeur.

« We have good stories, the experience is positive for the enterprise, […] It is a beautiful story that encourages us to continue on this path. »

Quote from Jan Bruder, Director of Communications at EACOM
Michael Leech wears a safety jacket.

Michael Leach is the Director of the EACOM Plant in Gojama.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bienvenu Senga

These observations were confirmed by factory manager Michael Leach who referred to it Foreign recruits like immersion in culture and [nouveau] Workplace.

During their integration, special emphasis should be placed on Their security sensitivity, because everyone comes from different places where security is perceived differently.

There is Some language barriers arose, but they were resolved, confirms Mr. Leech, who adds that the reception of the first workers makes it possible to adjust the training of those who will follow.

« But housing conditions are one of their biggest concerns. They want a place where they are not in a hurry, where they do not worry about how to eat, where to go to buy groceries, where they can come with their few possessions and get ready for work. »

Quote from Michael Leech, Plant Manager at EACOM at Ostrom

For camp food – which includes a dining hall – EACOM has maintained catering services.

Recruitment for Northern Ontario

Foreign recruitment is handled by Groupe IVEY, headquartered in Sudbury.

The company’s co-founder and president Anthony Lully often says he finds enthusiastic candidates, but not without them do marketing, the cars Usually people don’t know anything north of Toronto.

The company always wants to explain to them The reality of living in the north [de l’Ontario] Not in the big cities.

Myself, I’m from Timmins, so cold, snowy, I know what it is and so do our teammates […] And even there, there is a huge motivation to come and work in Canada because they want to develop their skills, contribute to the Canadian economy and give their children a chance for Canada to grow in Canada., He says.

Social integration to retain employees

Candidates selected by EACOM hold work permits that link them directly to the company for a period of two or three years. So they cannot change their jobs during this period.

But then, especially after obtaining permanent residence, they are free to choose to change job or profession.

At EACOM plants, the retention rate has so far been at 100%, but Anthony Lawley, who works with several other Northern Ontario companies, acknowledges that employers have A very important role to play In the retention of employees recruited from abroad.

Anthony Lully and Patrice Dubrow were sitting next to each other at a table with several small flags on it

The president of the IVEY Group, Anthony Lully (left), and the president of the consulting firm LRIC, Patrice Dubreuil (right), respectively, are involved in the recruitment of foreign workers and in the development of the EACOM camp in Gojama.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bienvenu Senga

That’s what we tell them. It is to provide good working conditions, take care of them, give good feedback, and also help them integrate [socialement]For example to show them what winter activities are, snowshoeing, skiing, He says.

They need someone to support and expose them to these things […]. There are a lot of options and if the employees are not happy, they can go and find work elsewhere.

« Societies also have a level of responsibility. They want to have new arrivals, to increase their population, but it takes a community touch to integrate them and give them a sense of belonging to the communities. »

Quote from Anthony Lawley, President of IVEY Group

A worker can get a very good job, but if the family is not happy, there are no friends, and there is nothing that can be done, it can cause troubleLolly adds.

Patrice Dubriel, a Sudbury businessman, agrees. Such an environment makes it possible to create a certain loyalty […] between the employee and the employer.

« For someone who comes from abroad, this is a way to get to know Canada better and determine that in the end, maybe it’s not so bad to bring my family and find myself a place to stay…to continue my business. »

Quote from Patrice Dubereuil, President of Let’s Roll Ideation Consulting

His consulting firm was responsible for finding the companies responsible for the construction of Gogamma Camp as well as for the restoration.

In the camp, thematic days are also planned, says the entrepreneur, where typical dishes from their countries of origin will be on the menu, so that People feel they can participate [leur] culture with [leurs] colleagues.

Patrice Dubroeuil recently built a camp for 700 people in the Dobroeulville area for workers at the Argonaut Gold Mine.

says find Interesting is the idea of ​​developing campsites in areas of Northern Ontario where there has been no new infrastructure for a long time.

It is a challenge to attract people from all over the place, so here, by having dormitories, we offer a temporary way to tame them. […]It’s a great opportunity, He says.

In-room washers and dryers

Home appliances are being installed at the EACOM sawmill workers camp in Gaugama.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bienvenu Senga

Jan Broder notes that discussions between EACOM and the Gogamma community are ongoing regarding the development of housing infrastructure.

But he knows it isA small community does not necessarily have the funds to build apartment buildings And that pressure on housing in Jojama will only increase because of a new gold mine in the area.

We needed to raise the bar now because the problem has become so glaring, and our problems are so immediate compared to the time it would have taken to reach a community-wide agreement.

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